Each month Cocktail Revolution features an exciting new designer. This month’s “Revolutionary of the Month” is Zsofia Matrai, the Hungarian born, Sydney based creative behind avant-garde fashion label MATRAI.
Zsofia made her way to Australia three years ago to study fashion design. This year, having completed those studies with a couple of Higher Education awards along the way, she launched her avant-garde designs at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. Her designs were well received. Since then Zsofia’s launched a new collection and is ready to take on the world!
Your garments have been described as avant-garde couture women’s wear. Can you tell us more about your approach?
I describe my label as an avant-garde couture women’s wear label because I am stretching the boundaries of high-end tailoring with intricate details and structured lines in all fields of expression. Most of the time I take inspiration from architecture, inner structures and the space that nature creates around us.
My design inspirations are based on challenges through experimentation and reinvention of forms, textures and shapes – ideas that stand out from the conventional. My message through this ideology is that we should not be afraid of norm-defying fashion aesthetics. I feel people should break fashion-related rules and challenge their unique personal styles!
Do you think Australia “gets” avant-garde couture?
I feel most people in Australia like wearing casual resort wear or comfortable clothing more than couture.The also wear highly tailored designs. It has kind of became a ”norm” in the country due to the warm climate.
However, I think Australia has a changing consumer market where people are wanting to express their individuality more through edgy designs these days. Jenny Kee and Akira Isogawa are good examples. I think people are wanting to see more of it!
From where do you source your textiles?
I most often source my fabrics from Australian fabric stores in Surry hills and from international wholesalers from Italy, India and Norway, for example.
Sourcing is always a challenging part of the design and production process. It’s about ensuring that the fabric will have the same high-quality look and colour that I’m looking for. It takes a long time to research fabrics and companies to find the right product.
Why did you choose Australia as a place to study fashion and how did you manage to organise and fund yourself to come?
I chose Australia to study fashion because it was always my biggest dream to move here. Not just for the beaches or exotic wilderness but because it seemed to have opportunities for work after graduation and space to be innovative! I also found that Australia offers a wide range of perspective with multiculturalism which I found super inspiring!
Working for a couple of years before I started the Bachelor’s course helped me to organise and fund my three years well. I had saved up a bit to invest into my collections and I was also lucky enough to get two scholarships which helped me to support my education financially.
What advice do you have for those who want to establish their own label in fashion, but lack funds?
My best advice would be for those who want to establish their label in fashion, is to get a full time job in the industry first. Then build your label on the side until you have enough money saved to invest in the business to successfully run it.
I would also recommend the Australian Fashion Council for grant applications and challenge yourself by entering competitions.
The other thing I would advise is to collaborate with other talented professionals, like photographers, make-up artists, models and website designers. Those connections could work together on a free basis to build your portfolios!
Thirdly, still dream big, believe in yourself and don’t let anyone stop you!
What’s been your career highlight so far?
My career highlight was when I launched my label, MATRAI, at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia and when I got featured in British Vogue in the October 2018 issue as an emerging Australian label.
MATRAI’s next step is to transform from ready-to-wear into a bespoke bridal and evening-wear label and to build a strong brand identity that the customers can clearly identity when they came across MATRAI on social media.
My plan is to keep designing new evening women’s wear garments each season, focusing more on one-off custom made bespoke pieces. I also want to collaborate with other artists and see where we can get together and create timeless clothing collections. Conquering the Australian market is a dream and then Europe and the rest of the world. The sky is the limit!
Follow Zsofia and MATRAI on Instagram
MUA: @makeupbygabriellas @tyminska_makeup
Models: @sophiewalker.xx @ashjobeparker
Drone: Robert Pregardt-Paur